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Title: health and fitness
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Three articles on communities promoting trails for health

From Trail Tracks, New Years 2004

spacer Photo: Senior Citizens in Blanco, Texas at new trail opening
Senior Citizens in Blanco, Texas at new trail opening

"Hearts N' Parks" connects community parks to health

Hearts N' Parks is a national, community-based program supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). It is designed to help local agencies promote hearthealthy lifestyle changes among their residents.

The objectives of Hearts N' Parks are to increase the number of children and adults who engage in heart-healthy behavior and to demonstrate the impact that community park and recreation programs can have on behavior.

Community organizations interested in signing up to become a Hearts N' Parks community should contact the National Recreation and Park Association at programs@nrpa.org or (800) 649-3042.

Trail promotes wellness for Texas seniors

The Gem of the Hills Senior Citizens Community Center in Blanco, Texas celebrated the opening of a new multi-use trail. The trail will provide increased opportunities for wellness activities for seniors and is the first segment of an 18-mile trail system planned for the city.

The dual-loop trail includes areas for nature enjoyment, bird watching, and a variety of hiking activities for senior citizens and the local community intended to attract more people into an active lifestyle. The larger trail network will provide alternative transportation opportunities for school children, shoppers, commuters, and tourists throughout the scenic Hill Country community, and will be fully coordinated with a countywide trails plan.

For more information, please contact Steve Bonner, Community Planner, RTCA, at (512) 916-5163 or steve_bonner@nps.gov.

"The goals of the event were to let the public know about this wonderful new trail system, to promote increased levels of physical activity, and to celebrate National Public Health Week."

"Walkabout for Wellness" promotes health in Redding

Shasta County Department of Public Health (SCDPH) worked with the McConnell Foundation and the Northstate Council on Physical Fitness and Sports in developing the first Walkabout for Wellness in 1998. This non-competitive event served as the grand opening festivities for the new Lema Ranch trails at the McConnell Foundation's headquarters in Redding, California.

The goals of the event were to let the public know about this wonderful new trail system, to promote increased levels of physical activity, and to celebrate National Public Health Week. The event was a success with about 400 participants. Extensive media coverage focused on the importance of increased physical activity, encouraging people to walk the new Lema Ranch trails as a good way to become more active.

The following year, SCDPH coordinated a similar event with the City of Redding, Turtle Bay Museums and Arboretum by the River, and the Northstate Council on Physical Fitness and Sports to highlight a trail extension project underway. Both these events emphasized the importance of trails in our community and encouraged people to become more active by getting out and using trails. Activities were planned to encourage those who are not currently physically active to come out and try the trails.

SCDPH's popular AWalk Redding guide lists great places to walk in Redding, as well as walking tips and information on starting a walking program. Many people who used the guide reported that they learned about new trails, walked at a new location, walked more often, and shared the information with a friend or relative. Other activities of SCDPH's Physical Activity Promotion Program are based on the Spectrum of Prevention, which focuses on multiple aspects for behavioral change, from individual knowledge and skills to policy and environmental changes that support active lifestyles.

For more information, contact Amy Pendergast at Shasta County Public Health Department: scphdch@snowcrest.net

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